This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Celebrity Ex-Cons: America's Amoral Fascination

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What do Jack Abramoff, Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela and Aung-San-Suu-Kyi have in common? To start, they are all ex-con celebrities who have written books with a political freedom theme. For all of them, prison followed their perspectives on political freedoms. Only Jack Abramoff was jailed for abusing these freedoms, for example by teaching his clients "how Washington worked." The others wanted to sample freedoms, like those Americans take for granted. They would never have thought of perverting the precious gift of protected freedoms.

Jack Abramoff

All too were obsessed with political corruption, but it was only Abramoff that was obsessed with profiting from corruption. The others lived to tell the sordid tale of politicians who placed personal wealth ahead of national wealth.

They all saw American-style democracy and free markets as the ticket to eliminating human rights abuses, except Jack. The devoutly religious Abramoff demonstrated that he could corrupt the democratic process to preserve unconscionable human rights abuses in sweatshops run on a U.S. territory.

After prison, all made it to the national stage. Havel, Mandela and Aung-San-Suu-Kyi became national political leaders who delivered to their nation the freedoms they had fought for. This has brought prosperity to their nations. (The jury is still not out in Burma.) These three also won or were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. They are people everyone should want to be like.

Abramoff once said, "Tom DeLay is the man we all want to be when we grow up." For national stage appearances Abramoff testified on his illicit dealings before the Senate Indian Affairs Division. Two Casino Jack movies have also given Abramoff and "how Washington works" national and even international recognition. More recently he has been on the national talk show circuit promoting his new book where he reveals that Washington is teeming with amoral folks like himself. The book is selling like hotcakes.

The recent death of former Czech president Vaclav Havel made the national news, too, as world leaders and thousands of mourners paid their respect to a man described as having a powerful moral compass. Havel spent many years in and out of prison. His crime was that he wrote about the absurdities of communism. One of his books is, The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
AAPL $132.54 0.00%
FB $80.54 0.00%
GOOG $540.11 0.00%
TSLA $247.73 0.00%
YHOO $43.48 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,232.02 -53.72 -0.29%
S&P 500 2,126.06 -4.76 -0.22%
NASDAQ 5,089.3620 -1.4320 -0.03%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs